Doris Warner to challenge Holcherr in MCS board election
By Brian Sweeney
Doris Warner will challenge Kurt Holcherr for a Margaretville Central School Board of Education seat in balloting on Tuesday, May 20 from 2-8 p.m.
Following are profiles of the MCS Board candidates who are in the running for a three-year term.
Fleischmanns resident Kurt Holcherr has been on the MCS Board of Education for three years. He was initially appointed to fill an unexpired term and then subsequently elected to serve out the remainder of the term.
A native of Queens, Mr. Holcherr and his wife have been area residents since 1989. He is retired after working locally as a mechanic with Catskill Tractor in Franklin and Cole’s Truck Repair in Davenport. He also spent more than a decade as a licensed teaching assistant with the Northern Catskills Occupational Center in Grand Gorge.
Mr. Holcherr said his tenure on the board has been a great learning experience.
“I used to criticize the administration, and then I realized that it wasn’t all cut and dried,” he commented.
He said that a school board member once advised me, “‘Don’t come in here with an agenda.’ I’d give the same advice to anyone who is considering running.”
Mr. Holcherr said he has learned a tremendous amount and hopes to continue his work on the board.
One of the things Mr. Holcherr would like to see in the school system is a greater emphasis on technical and vocational education.
“We are a society that very much encourages four-year college education, yet there’s a vacuum in technical and vocational training. We need to have a balance based on need. I hope to work closely with guidance counselor and superintendent on this issue.”
Another area where Mr. Holcherr would like to see improvement is with technology in the classroom.
“We should purchase computers, based on what the teachers need. I’m a budgetary conservative, but an educational moderate,” he explained.
Mr. Holcherr said that meeting so many state requirements leaves few areas of control for board members.
“We can do a lot collectively as board members, but we have very limited control over the state-mandated core,” he noted.
“The state doesn’t do a good job with the way changes are implemented. We’re constantly making changes – someone told me it’s like fixing an airplane while it’s still in the sky,” he remarked.
Mr. Holcherr said his first three years on the board of education were primarily spent learning the administrative side of operating the district. If re-elected, he said he’d like to communicate more with the teachers.
He stated, “I’d like to go into the classrooms and see what their concerns are – they are doing a terrific job under the conditions.”
The school board member added, “I’d like to see a closer cooperation between the rank-and-file and management. So we can focus on what we’ve got to do for the kids – try to reverse the educational pyramid where the kids are on the bottom.”
He concluded, “Margaretville is an excellent school with excellent teachers, support staff and administration. I hope I can do right. I’m always willing to entertain somebody’s thoughts. The long hours are worth it.”
Mrs. Warner has been a resident of the Margaretville area for 21 years. She lives outside the village with her husband, Jeff. Her oldest son, Kenneth Howley, graduated with the class of 1998 and her youngest son, James, is a member of the class of 2014.
She is an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and a board member of the Fairview Library. Mrs. Warner has been involved in scouting with Troop 180 of Arkville.
Her involvement at Margaretville includes being past PTA treasurer and an advisor to the Class of 2014. For 15 years, she worked at the Catskill Mountain News selling advertising. Last year, she was offered an opportunity to work as a genealogist — a longtime passion — and she left the News to pursue this new work. She is a graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in International Business.
Mrs. Warner said she put considerable thought into deciding to run for the board.
“There are a number of reasons I decided to run for the board which was not a decision I made lightly or easily. My son is graduating in June so this was not a decision based in personal goals or agendas. Rather, it was rooted in a real concern for our school and students.
“First of all, there is a large group of parents, students and teachers who feel that the do not have a voice at MCS. Their perspective is that they are unheard. I believe I can bring their voices to the board,” she continued.
Mrs. Warner feels confident that she would be able to have her voice her on the board.
“Anyone who knows me, will attest to the fact that I speak my mind and would never simply agree to others’ opinions. But, I do listen and am willing to express other opinions to fellow board members. I am not afraid to ask questions or challenge the status quo.
“I believe I bring a different perspective to the board as a recent consumer of education in Margaretville. For the last 13 years I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the wonderful things that happen at MCS as well as the things that need improvement. My son has been active in a myriad of different things from varsity sports to drama productions to National Honor Society which has allowed me to be involved in countless activities and to interact with many people at MCS,” she explained.
Mrs. Warner said she would like to help the school improve to the next level.
“Ultimately, for me, the biggest issue is that MCS should be a great school. It is a good school and I am pleased with my son’s education. But we have talented and committed students and teachers who are professional, dedicated and concerned and yet we have not found a way to make the sum greater than its parts.
“In addition, I recognize that we face economic challenges like all schools in the region and many in the state. Which simply means we need to be innovative in addressing our needs. There are ways to address the needs of our students without breaking the budget; be creative, try new ideas, ask for input and look to others. The board of education needs to be responsive to our students and parents, they need to help students and parents get the best education possible and I believe I can help that happen,” she stated.
“I pledge to continue to be present at MCS despite my son’s graduation. I believe being on campus, talking to students and faculty, listening to the concerns of parents is the only way to ensure that their needs are being met. As an elected board member, it is our obligation to hear the voices of those we represent whether we agree with them or not,” she commented.